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virtual assistant

The Top 3 Time Tracking Apps for Virtual Assistants in 2020

If you are a Virtual Assistant who charges by the hour, it’s imperative that you have an easy-to-use, accurate, time tracking program. With over 5 years in the virtual assistant industry, I have tried a variety of ways to track my time. Heck, I have even tried using a kitchen timer once! I don’t recommend it unless you want to almost pee your pants when it goes off! 😉

There’s an easier option that doesn’t make you jump out of your seat. It’s called a time tracking app, and there are many on the market. Some are wonderful and some are meh. Some are very simple and others are a hassle. Some are free and some cost a fee.

First of all, I don’t recommend paying. There are many free options that work just as well as the paid ones. So, there’s no reason to have more business expenses than you have to as a VA.

Today, I want to tell you about my top 3 time tracking apps, even though there are probably a dozen that I like really well, but for the sake of space and time, I’m picking three.

  1. Clockify. This one is kind of new to me, but is my absolute favorite now. I have only been using it for about a month, but I really like it. Super simple, easy-to-use, accurate, and free. This is an all-inclusive time tracking program with an extensive reporting system. This time tracker offers tracking time while you work, manual time entry, you can also add your time in a time sheet, and includes features that help you organize the time you log. The Reports section also offers weekly reports, if you choose to use them.
  2. Toggl. This is the one I have used the most in the past. It was built for speed and easy to use. It has a simple interface that is easy to navigate and learn quickly. It is also free, but there is an advanced paid option, but I did just fine without the paid version. You basically clock in and out on this app as well. You can access it from your desktop or phone. You can also use the data to organize time sheets.
  3. Time Camp. This one also has a free version. It has automatic time tracking with comprehensive and detailed reports. It also has time sheets and can separate by categories. I’ve used a few times and it was pretty simple and easy to use.

When I thought about all the ones I’ve tried, these 3 stood out to me the most as ones I would recommend. It’s important as a VA to make sure you are tracking your time correctly if you charge by the hour. Not only is this for the benefit of the client to make sure you are not charging more than you are actually working, but this is important for you to use a time tracker to make sure you aren’t undercharging for your time.

If you are an employer or have recently contracted out a virtual assistant, these would be good options to use or recommend to them to make sure productivity is what it needs to be. If you yourself are a virtual assistant, any of these would be a great way to help track your time accurately.

If you are a busy small business owner and maybe need a virtual assistant to help take care of some things for you, please schedule an appointment with me for a free 15 minute consultation to see if we are a good match! You can do that HERE.

Genean Roberts – Life By Design VA Services

Virtual Assistant
businessbuildingstrategies, Goal Setting, Mindset, time management

Investing in Your Most Important Asset as a Business Owner

As a business owner, many of us have a tendency to work too much. It’s easy to get sucked into working ALL THE TIME. If your office is in your home, it’s easy to keep going back in and doing just a little more! Wait…is that just me? It can’t be!

Can anyone relate to the above? If so, I bet you can also relate to burnout, stress, overwhelm and zero self-care. I don’t know about you, but this mom, wife and business owner has been there too many times.

So, what is your most important asset as a small business owner? Duh, it’s you. Yes you! You are your most important asset in your business!

Investing in yourself and taking care of yourself is the most profitable decision you can make, in my opinion. It can help you to be more productive with less hours. Learning new skill sets, setting priorities and achieving a better quality of life are all results you can obtain by investing in you. Putting in effort now can have a big difference in your future in a much more positive way.

So maybe you’re thinking how in the world can I invest time into me when I have a million other things to do? The simple answer is just do it. Seriously, you just have to make a decision that it’s an important aspect of growing and maintaining a healthy life in all areas. Here are 2 things that have made a difference for me. FYI – number 2 should actually be number one.

1. Developing Your Skills. This can take on many forms. The niche you are in will determine some of the skills you should hone in on, but for the most part we all need to invest in personal growth and learning new skills regardless of the industry we are in currently and regardless of how long you have been doing a particular type of work. Things are always changing and to keep up we have to be prepared with new skill sets.

  • People skills. No matter what industry you are in, there are people. The money is in the hands of the people. The marketplace pays for value. Upping your people skills makes you more valuable in whatever line of work you pursue. Consider listening to personal development daily for 15 minutes.
  • Free and paid training that fits your niche – enroll in online workshops, go to live conferences or participate in webinars that fit your industry and the areas you want to see growth in more.
  • Grow your knowledge – Read books. Leaders are readers! Listen to podcasts. Schedule at least 15 minutes a day for just listening or reading positive things.
  • Care for your body. Self-care is so important for every aspect of our life. And it’s normally the one that we put last on the list. For most of us with families and businesses, there is little time left for ourselves. But it is so important that we make it a priority. We cannot pour from an empty cup. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. Take a spa day, get a massage, take a day to binge Netflix, take a drive or even a weekend away. Whatever it is for you, just do it. Make the decision to practice self-care every week.

Investing in you can truly make a difference in your life, your relationships, and your ability to grow in your business and utilize your skills to the best of your ability. The extent to which you invest in yourself, caring for your mind and body, making self-care and learning new skills a priority, can make a world of difference in your entire life.

If you are a business owner who has too many tasks taking too much of your day, it may be time to think about getting some help. A virtual assistant can help you by doing the back-end work like social media management, website management, calendar and email management, and much more.

If you are a business owner who needs a bit of a break, let’s talk. Schedule your completely FREE CONSULTATION here.

Genean Roberts

http://www.lifebydesignvaservices.com

Mindset

4 Ways to Stay Positive During a Pandemic

The world has changed a lot in 6 months, probably permanently to some extent. And it feels like there is no end in sight. However, feelings lie and how we react to those feelings can determine how it affects us in the long term. We can see it as the world is ending, turned upside down and all kinds of other negative things, or we can focus on what is positive about this year and the good things it has brought. I know that’s easier said than done, so I thought I would share 4 things that help me focus on the positive.

  1. Always Be Grateful for the Good. Research has shown that gratitude is often associated with more happiness and less anxiety. To manifest positive emotions inside of you, always make it a habit to bring to mind the things you are grateful for everyday. Write it down. I keep a gratitude journal. I don’t write in it everyday, but when I do it helps me to put into perspective what really matters. It also helps me to remember all the things I have, instead of what I don’t.
  2. What may seem like a very negative situation, could turn out to be one of the biggest blessings of your life. It’s all in how you look at it. Perspective is everything. With all the bad the pandemic has brought, it has brought good things too. We, as a society in general, have had to slow down from the exhausting pace most of us were running. Many got more time at home to spend time with kids and family, and maybe even got to do some things you love that you never prioritized – that could include finding new hobbies, working out and getting fit, restoring an unhealthy marriage, spending more time in prayer or meditation, etc.
  3. We can train our mind to see the good. When we get a negative thought, we can take it captive, and ask ourselves if it is true. Is it really as bad as your mind makes you believe? Anxiety thrives on the unknown and thrives on fear. At a certain point, anxiety can lead us into some scary mental spaces. We start focusing on worst-case scenarios, and fear and negativity kick in and begin to paralyze. You have the power to change your thoughts, if you choose to. You have the power to speak life into your situation, your business, your relationships, your home and everything else in your life.
  4. Unplug from the negative. Negativity is all over social media and all over the news. It is overwhelming and can drive the sanest person insane. People are being mean and judgmental over masks and vaccines and all kinds of other things. It’s mentally exhausting and it’s easy to get sucked in. Before you know it you’ve been scrolling for 2 hours reading negative post after post after post. Negative news article after negative news article. Watching negative news video after negative news video. It’s a terrible cycle to get into and consumes your time, keeping you from being productive.

This too shall pass friends. There is nothing new under the sun. These hard times will be over one day and we will get to look back on them as a memory. Will your memories be negativity, worries, fears and doubts or will you remember how you found the good in the pandemic? The choice is yours.

Genean Roberts – Life By Design VA Services

businessbuildingstrategies, Mindset, time management

The Power of Delegation and Why You Need To Start Now

Whether you have been in business for yourself for 1 year or 20 years, you probably have felt the need to delegate. Some of us do well at delegating and some not so much. For me, delegating has always been tough. We have all heard the saying ‘If I want it done right, I will just do it myself’. That is normally because we feel like we can either do it better, or we at least feel like we understand it better than anyone else will. That kind of ego can lead to all kinds of problems in our businesses, not to mention our physical and mental health.

As a result, nothing gets delegated and burnout is on the horizon.

The issue in most cases is not that there is no one capable, it is more often that we just can’t delegate well. There are plenty of willing and able potential employees or contract workers out there ready and willing to learn and prove themselves. But it’s normally the business owner that is the issue. Delegating seems hard, and it shouldn’t be.

Here’s my thoughts on how to become a professional delegator

1. Research. It’s important to know you need before you begin searching for it. If you need to help setting up your monthly newsletter, then find someone with experience using Aweber, Constant Contact or MailChimp. Finding the right person for the job is the first important step in delegating the work. Specific skill sets are imperative when hiring and delegating work projects.

2. Plan it out. Write down everything you do in your business each day/week. Then highlight the parts you either don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. Then find someone with those specific skills to do them. Taking a few things off your plate can make a world of difference in your overall well-being.

3. Provide specific information. Once you begin delegating work, be thorough: make sure to include deadlines and guidelines about how you’d like the work to be done. Don’t just assume the person knows. Most people want to do a good job. Set them up for success instead of failure by making sure they have all the details up front.

4. Keep in touch. If you’ve delegated a work project, keep in contact once a day and ask for progress updates. Regular meetings will help with issues and allow for any adjustments needed. It would be awful to get a completed project that has been done incorrectly because you didn’t communicate effectively. Time is money!

5. Build Rapport. When you work with someone you are in a relationship with them. That doesn’t mean you have to be best buds, but it is important to grow that business relationship. Be sure to answer questions about the projects they are working on quickly so that they can stay on track and on time. Your work together will require regular communication – either written or verbal.

Delegating can be a powerful way to leverage your time and grow your business drastically. But you have to be willing to let go and delegate some things to others, whether that be an employee or an independent contractor.

Once you do, you will be able to breathe a little easier, work on the things that grow your business instead of all the busy work, and you may even see your income and business start to explode!

If you are thinking about delegating some things, set up a completely free consultation with me HERE to see if we are a good match!

To your success,

Genean Roberts – Life By Design VA Services

businessbuildingstrategies, onlinemarketing, Social Media Marketing

Virtual Assistant VS Employee: Which One Do You Need?

Have you been struggling to make a decision whether to hire an employee or contract out a virtual assistant? Sometimes an employee is a better choice, especially if you need someone to be at a job site in person, but many times a virtual assistant can do anything an employee can do, without the extra hassle. Here are a few ways virtual assistants are more beneficial than an employee.

No Extra Hidden Costs

Did you realize that when you hire an employee for a specific rate of pay, that isn’t the actual pay? You have to factor in those extra costs. There are payroll taxes, worker’s comp, unemployment insurance, vacation days, sick days, holidays, and benefits. Those can add up fast.

That means that many times you are actually paying double an employee’s salary by having them on your payroll. But a virtual assistant’s cost is exactly what was agreed upon in the contract. Much simpler with much less paperwork.

No Wasted Time That You Are Paying For

A virtual assistant only charges for the hours they work, most using time tracking software to keep it as close to the minute as possible. You don’t have to pay them for breaks. No socializing at the water cooler. You only pay for the actual time they are working and for the services they are supposed to provide.

No Overhead

A virtual assistant provides all their own equipment, and their own office in their home. You don’t have to pay electric, phone, internet or office space rental for virtual assistants. The savings there can be monumental!

Many VAs Specialize and Don’t Need Trained

It’s possible to choose a virtual assistant based on their experience and expertise. You choose one specifically for projects you need done, either once or ongoing. In most cases, they already know how to do the jobs you need completed, you just have to show them your particular methods and any specifics they need to know. This saves training time and cost!

Flexible Hours

When you hire an employee, there are normally set work hours. However, a virtual assistant, more often works based on task deadlines rather than set hours. This can be a great time saver as well!

There are many reasons to choose hiring a virtual assistant over an employee, but these are just a few of the top ones. If you are a busy business owner who needs some help with getting organized, lowering your workload, or just getting some things off your plate temporarily, a virtual assistant may be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION with me today, so that we can see if what I do may be a good fit for you!

Genean Roberts – Virtual Solutions Specialist

businessbuildingstrategies, Social Media Marketing

4 Reasons Why Your Small Business May Need a Virtual Assistant

If you’ve been in business for yourself any amount of time, I am sure you have felt the stress of overwhelm. Too much to do, there are not enough hours in the day, and you are only one person. If you’re looking to grow your small business further than where it already is, you may need some help. You are already stretched to capacity, and in time, as your business continues to grow, your time will be stretched even more.

Thanks to the growth of technology and the amazing interwebs, it no longer matters if your virtual assistant is located nearby, you can connect online and grow your business together with a single click. There are many reasons why your business may benefit from hiring a Virtual Assistant, but here are just 4 of my top ideas.

1 You’re too busy

As a small business owner, you have a lot of responsibility. You have marketing, IT, finance, maybe payroll if you have employees, and then doing the actual work of your business niche. It can be stressful, almost to the point where you want to give up. That’s where a Virtual Assistant can come in and help take a few things off your plate. A VA can help you with many different tasks remotely. Many can help with social media, website management, and general admin tasks you don’t have time to do.

2 You don’t know how

Whether it’s a blog, eCommerce store, or website, most likely you’re not an expert in everything. Just running the basics of your business can be exhausting, so if you don’t have time to learn all the things, it’s OK. That’s what a VA does best. They could help spice up your social media profiles and business pages, help with your WordPress website, or handle your Constant Contact email campaigns, among other things.

3 Your Social Media is Blah

Social Media can be an awesome tool for small businesses with everyone and their grandma being on some sort of social media these days. However, if your social media accounts aren’t providing any value, not growing, and not getting the exposure you need, you may need a little help from a VA. With multiple accounts to manage, it can be a full time job – and one that you likely don’t have time for. Again, that’s where a VA can step in and use Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule posts. A VA can place ads or boost posts for you, manage groups, add content and respond to comments or messages daily. These little things can add up to a lot of work. Having a VA to help can make a world of difference for your online presence.

4 You just don’t want to

Maybe you know all the ins and outs of building a WordPress site, and you are a pro at Mail Chimp and Infusionsoft, and you are a social media marketing king or queen! But maybe you just don’t enjoy doing those things, and you really want to do things that spark joy in your life and in your business. That’s why you started your own business right? To do what you love and what makes you happy!

If any of these relate to you, it may be time to consider a Virtual Assistant. And many times you really need one sooner rather than later, before things get out of control and the overwhelm is more than you can handle.

Schedule a free consultation with me HERE.

To your success,

Genean Roberts

http://www.lifebydesignvaservices.com

belief, Mindset

How To Change Your Attitude From Negative to Positive Starting Today

Are you always focusing on the negative first?

Does your attitude need an overhaul sometimes?

Do you complain when things don’t go as planned?

Here are 3 things that have helped me when I am having a bad day.

  1. Track it. If you start journaling every time you are negative, it will make you very aware of how much negativity really is there. What you track you can work on.
  2. Listen to or read positive things every single day. There is so much negative out there that we need to replace it with positive. This could be reading personal development books or even just motivational/inspirational quotes or listening to a positive podcast.
  3. Do a 7 Day No Complaining Challenge. This is VERY eye opening. I was shocked at how much I complained. The goal is to get 7 days in a row of no complaining. It’s harder than you think folks! Could take weeks or months to get 7 days in a row, and that’s OK. It’s about progress not perfection.

To your success,

Genean Roberts

belief, Goal Setting, Mindset

Unclear Vision Leads to Distraction

Are you in a business but get easily distracted with other things?

Do you easily lose motivation?

Do you lose focus and stop doing the IPA’s (Income Producing Activities)?

Instead of doing the work you do things like:

  • Scroll FB for long periods of time
  • Watch TV when you should be working
  • Organize your desk or files or post-its or whatever
  • Or do just about anything you can think of to not have to do the actual work

Anyone?  I know these are real struggles, because I have been through every one of them.

I finally discovered something a few years ago. When we are not focused, not motivated and letting distractions rule us, we have either forgotten our vision and our why or we simple never had a clear one to start with.

So, think back to why you started your business in the first place. What was your ‘why’? Was it to be able to quit your job working for someone else, retire your spouse, travel more, pay off debt? What was that driving force behind you starting a business in the first place?

Then, write it down. Set new goals. If your vision and your why isn’t clear, then take some time to get it clear. Think long and hard about what you want in life, then write it down. Hang it up somewhere and look at it often. That’s what will keep you going when the hard times hit. That’s what will keep you focused and motivated when the distractions come.

What do you want from this life?  When you figure that out, and it’s clear, the distractions will no longer get in the way.

To your success,

Genean Roberts

Goal Setting, healthandwellness, Mindset

Healthier Living is Possible Even If You’re Addicted to Junk

How do you learn to live a healthier lifestyle when your body is addicted to eating junk food?   How do we eat an elephant? One bite at a time? Well, this is the opposite. One LESS bite at a time. LOL.

So, I’ve been asked by quite a few people lately how I’ve been able to cut out a lot of bad foods and replace with healthier options. For instance, in our home we no longer eat pasta. We eat zucchini and spaghetti squash and cauliflower instead. Was that an overnight change? Heck no!

So maybe you are where I was 2 years ago. Maybe, like me before, you drink soda daily, or eat out 2-3 times a week, or maybe Little Debbie is your best friend like she was mine. Turns out she was an enabler who I needed to remove from my life…. 😀

Maybe you work a lot like I did and it’s just easier to throw a frozen pizza in the oven or some bagel bites in the microwave? Yep, that was us. How did we change it? One small step at a time.

You can too. Small steps lead to big progress over time.

This same concept applies to every area of our lives. If you are wanting to lose weight, stop trying to find the fast, easy way. If you want to be healthy in every way, stop looking for quick fixes. Same applies to your business. If you want to succeed, start making small steps toward success, without giving up when it doesn’t work in 30 days.

Success will come if you don’t give up.

To your success,

Genean Roberts